I’ll take one Lassie, no wait…make that an Air Bud
While those of us who own pets may like to think we picked our own special Fido because he was the friendliest dog at the shelter, recent research shows there may be some subliminal media forces at play. A study published in PLOS ONE looked at 100 films that featured a dog as a main character from 1939 to 2003 along with the number of registrations with the American Kennel Club by breed in the 10 years before and after each film. As it turns out, there was a significant jump in number of registrations for dogs of a particular breed (e.g., Dalmatians) after that breed was featured in a hit movie (e.g., 101 Dalmatians). Interestingly, the reverse effect occurred if the film was a box office dud: Registrations of Siberian huskies, for instance, dropped after the release of Iron Will and Balto, both of which starred the breed.
Personally, I remain pretty confident that my childhood beagle Pepper is still the best dog of all time. But who knows, reading Peanuts every morning might have had something to do with it.
You can check out the full study here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0106565